The Freshwater Lionfish (Batrachomoeus trispinosus) is an unusual fish that is found in the muddy bottoms of mangrove estuaries and coastal waters. It is actually more of a marine fish, but because in nature it spends a good deal of time where salt waters are mixed with fresh, it is more adaptable to lower salinity levels than other marine animals.
Its common name in Australia is the Three-spined Frogfish. No one is quite sure how it received the common name of Freshwater Lionfish. They are not related to the saltwater Lionfish, and fortunately they are not venomous like those saltwater Lionfish.
The Freshwater Lionfish is truly an oddball fish, and rather grumpy. The names of Toadfish, Frogfish and even Stonefish give a good impression of what this fish looks and acts like. It sits very still and looks much like a camouflaged brown lump or stone, thus the name Stonefish. The broad head and large mouth are very frog-like. It also feeds very much like a frog or toad would, waiting patiently until its food comes within range and then gulping it down quickly.
Fish supplied is approx: 8cm
Choose tank mates that are too large to fit into its cavernous mouth. This fish is not at all aggressive but since it is a predator with a very large mouth, considerable care is needed when choosing tank mates. They will stay secluded under cover during the day, though may come out at night. As they become comfortable and learn their feeding regime, they may start to venture out when the lights are on.
No – Though not venomous, there are spines in its skin that can cause pain if brushed against with your hand.
Temperament: Peaceful – Peaceful, but a predator that will eat any fish that fits in its mouth.
Foods and Feeding
The Freshwater Lionfish are carnivores, a predator. In the wild they feed on live crustaceans and fish. In the aquarium feed a variety of foods including bloodworms, earthworms, river shrimp and crayfish. Some fish foods that you can offer include tilapia, rainbow trout, pollack, and cockles. Prawns and shrimp can be used in the short term to get your fish eating.
This fish relies on camouflage and stealth to get a meal so if their prey doesn’t swim directly in front of them, they may not get enough to eat. Using a feeding stick, aquarium tongs, or forceps to hold foods in front of their mouth is a good way to make sure that it is getting enough to eat. It may take awhile to get one to feed so be patient. Be careful not to overfeed these rather sedentary fish. Provide just enough so that the belly fills out slightly but doesn’t look inflated.
Some varieties of live fish and saltwater invertebrates are not recommended, at least not for the long term. These include goldfish and guppies, as well as mussels, shrimps, prawns and at least some types of squid. With Goldfish and guppies there is the risk of introducing parasites. Also, these fish and these invertebrates are rich in an enzyme called thiaminase. Thiaminase metabolizes or breaks down vitamin B1 which over the long term can cause severe health problems. The fish listed above are thiaminase-free foods.
Diet Type: Carnivore
Flake Food: No
Tablet / Pellet: No
Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Most of Diet
Meaty Food: All of Diet
Feeding Frequency: Weekly
This species is best suited for a saltwater or brackish water tank. It can only be kept in fresh water for a short time, but it cannot be permanently maintained in freshwater and live. Acclimate them to a brackish tank slowly, over a period of about a week. They must have a minimum specific gravity of at least 1.005, but a heavy brackish water of 2.5 % to 3% salinity density (specific gravity 1.020-1.024) is suggested for the long term.
Provide weekly partial water changes as needed, generally about 25 – 50%. Water changes can be quite variable, depending on salinity, tank size, and stocking density (bio-load). For example, a saltwater aquarium generally needs about twice as much water changed out as a freshwater aquarium.
Water Changes: Weekly – Do water changes as needed, generally about 25 – 50% weekly.
|Peaceful fish||Must be large enough to not be food.|
|Large Aggressive, Predatory||Monitor|
|Slow Swimmers & Eaters||Monitor – Must be large enough to not be considered food.|
|Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Threat||aggressive – Crustaceans are part of its natural diet.|
|Adult Size:||25 to 30 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Medium to Advanced|
|Minimum Tank Size:||200 litres|
|Temperament:||Peaceful – Peaceful, but a predator that will eat any fish that fits in its mouth.|
|Tank Level:||Bottom dweller|
|Diet:||Carnivore, live foods preferred|
|Lifespan:||8 to 15 Years|
|Temperature:||22.8 – 27.8°C|
|pH:||7.8 – 8.5|
|Hardness:||7 – 10 dGH|